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In Which The Other Title Was Better But I Changed It

December 11th, 2007 7 comments

[Note – Please look at this really cute picture of this adorable baby.

 baby.jpg

OMG!  Couldn’t you just eat this little one up?!

Well, if you do not read this entire post AND agree with it I will eat this baby and it will by YOUR FAULT.  Enjoy the post.  Someone’s life depends on it.]

One of the numerous phrases I hate is when guys say “I gotta watch my girlish figure”.  This weird throwback to a time when Bugs Bunny could crossdress and no one thought anything of it bothers me for that precise reason.  This is just a roundabout way of saying that, yes, I did have a donut on my walk home from Town Council, I have a fairly healthy body image and I don’t care if you crossdress.  (Seriously.  Agree with everything I say.)

I really thought twice about going out on this cold December night.  The rain.  The cold.  The night.  Why not stay home and watch Town Council on cable?  Oh.  That’s why.  Because the sound is horrible and quiet so you have to crank the volume on your TV all the way up and you invariably forget to turn it back down when Town Council is finished and you change the channel to calm yourself down by watching Silence of the Lambs and wind up blowing out your speakers.  By the time I remembered this, Town Council already began.  I figured there’d be a decent breaking point for me to walk down.  And I was right.

You have to wonder if Clyde watched Pulp Fiction before the meeting.  Not because he was swearing profusely or gave everyone foot messages but because, to quote last week’s Town Council, everything was out of order.  By which I mean that the agenda pretty much got tossed to the wind.  Hence, Clyde started off with the President’s Report and expressed his displeasure with Mike Driscoll’s legal action of the recount.  He also made reference to two other parties also engaged in legal action over the recount.  We all know what stickler Marilyn is for detail – dotting “i”s and crossing “t”s, making sure the car is registered, following procedures – so it was no big surprise when she breathlessly requested to correct Clyde’s statement.  So, for the record, Marilyn is not involved in any legal proceedings.  Related to the recount, that is.  Let’s be precise.

One of the things I love about working for myself is that I don’t have to attend my company Christmas party.  (A comic friend of mine does a bit about working for yourself, going to the Christmas party, getting drunk and sleeping with the boss.)  I also don’t have to listen to retirement speeches.  Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate (most) of the councilors and they deserve thanks for the work they put into governing Watertown, but instinctively I knew that the presentation for Steve Romanelli was the perfect opportunity to turn off the TV and walk down to watch in person.  So off I went, to brave the elements of that cold December night; past the Dunkin Donuts, through the CVS parking lot with the woman parked perpendicular to the parking spaces, past the police station and, at last, Town Hall.

And it was SRO!  There was barely enough room to swing a baby.  Was Chuck Norris endorsing Marilyn, too?  Either way, just as I suspected, the Romanelli tribute had not yet wrapped up.  Among other things, I think they gave him an axe.  The thought of an axe readily accessible during Town Council made me shudder.  Steve thanked lots of people.  Lots of people thanked Steve.  Marilyn wept a little.  And…

Huh?  Look, I understand there was a Christmas party before the meeting and I understand that nothing says Christmas like red and green (except, of course, for the word “Christmas” itself) but you have to admit that for Marilyn to wear a red dress after all that’s been going on…well, I couldn’t help thinking of Anjelica Houston in Prizzi’s Honor – “Yeah, I’ll be at your funeral and I’ll be wearing a red dress”.  But, like I said, there was a Christmas party earlier.

The speeches ended and the “fun” began when Marilyn raised her hand with a “pick me, pick me NOW” gesture and dequested (demand + request) that her proclamation get moved up immediately.  Right now.  Post haste.  Really important.  She wasn’t able to get up a head of steam over it because Sideris had already moved the proclamation up to, well, immediately.  Maybe it’s me but Marilyn’s shoulders always droop a little when she gets what she wants without having to scream about it.

And it’s PROCLAMATION TIME!  But not just any old proclamation time, no, proclamation time with a special guest star.

At this point in time, I would like you to look at the baby again and remember that I will eat it if you disagree with this post and it will be your fault.

baby.jpg 

Are we clear on this?  I truly hope so.

Where was I?  Oh, yes, special guest stars.

“Mr. President, I’d like to speak from the podium,” proclaimed Marilyn as she strode to the podium (and I’m paraphrasing from here on out), “I have a special guest here that I would like to speak on MY PROCLAMATION.  It’s the proclamation that I WROTE by myself and put MY NAME on because it’s MY PROCLAMATION written by ME, MARILYN DEVANEY.  Now, I have here in the audience…”

But Clyde would have none of’t and started talking about some stupid “rule” that only bad, mean, evil, corrupt people use to stifle the truth tellers of this world.  So, Marilyn just ignored him and waded through the crowd to get her special guest star who was…

baby.jpg 

…no, not the baby, but a 97 year old survivor of the Armenian Genocide.  That’s right.  In order to further her own personal agenda and push through her horribly written, ADL bashing proclamation, brave Marilyn Devaney used a 97 year old woman as both a prop and a shield.  And I am completely serious – say anything about my analysis of using the elderly as a tool of intimidation and I will eat this baby.  It’s your choice, folks.  Choose wisely.

“I WANT YOU TO HEAR THIS WOMAN’S STORY ABOUT HOW WHEN SHE WAS THREE YEARS OLD SHE WAS NEARLY LEFT BEHIND TO BE MURDERED…”, Marilyn brayed and if nobody understood how horrible the Armenian genocide was.  Could it really be true that what Marilyn took away from the last meeting was that the town councilors hated the Armenians and insisted on standing shoulder to shoulder with the ADL?  I have to believe that on some level she did.  Even after Hecht tried to assure her two weeks ago that her idea was sounded but the execution sucked, she still saw this as some kind of David and Goliath struggle.  It’s not.  Hecht said quite plainly that the whole council should be involved in writing, not just her.  What’s the problem with that?  Evidently, the problem is, as it always is, other people.  Marilyn is a democracy of one.

To their credit, no one really fell for the “you bastards wouldn’t even let a 97 year old woman speak because you’re all out to get me” ploy.  On the contrary, everyone wanted the woman to speak.  The problem was that Marilyn wouldn’t shut up.  A woman in the back of the room broke in and loudly said that the proper thing to send to the MMA was a resolution and not a proclamation.  Marilyn quacked snidely at that suggestion and the woman shook her head in disgust and walked out.  Good for her.

Meanwhile, Clyde (after a couple of squeaks of the gavel) somewhat restored order (Romanelli continually urged Marilyn to return to her seat) and asked that the 97 year old prop speak.  And she did.  She told the story that Marilyn told and it sounded horrible.  At some point, a man, probably a relative, crept beside her and told her to say that she supported Marilyn’s proclamation.  Instead, she continued talking about what happened after she was saved from being killed by the Turks.  Once she finished, she went back to her seat and Marilyn was on her own.

Points of procedure once again flew from the other councilors to which Marilyn, in the best rhetorical tradition of Socrates and Plato responded – “SHE CAME OUT ON A COLD DECEMBER NIGHT TO TELL HER STORY AND TO SUPPORT MY PROCLAMATION.”  To Marilyn supporters reading this, I hope it’s sinking through that while your girl may get you services and fix your potholes (with or without a hot line) she outright refuses to play with the other children.  This isn’t about oppression or corruption or the old boy network or serial calling – this is simply about Marilyn not getting what she wants.  Period.  It’s not a democracy for her if her side doesn’t win.

She huffed, she puffed, she whined, she rolled her eyes and shook her head so hard that I felt concerned for her spine.  She asked the town attorney for a ruling in voice that just reeked of “but you said I could have a white pony”.  The lawyer did not tell her what she wanted to hear, which means we’ll need a new town attorney, I guess. 

At one point, someone (Clyde, if I remember) cut her off in the middle of a rant and she bellowed, “BE RESPECTFUL!”  And I tried to keep it in, honest I did, but I hooted out loud.  It’s just about the funniest thing in the world for Marilyn, who cuts off pretty much anybody she cares to because it’s her God-given right to do so, to even attempt to chide someone for being rude.

And, in fact, not too long after that, Sideris asked for and received permission to speak and began to explain that, “two weeks ago, you dropped this thing in front of us with no notice whatso-”  “I WON’T HAVE YOU TELLING LIES ABOUT ME!”.  So, you see, Marilyn always has a good reason to cut somebody off but the reverse can never be true.  After Marilyn allowed Sideris to continue his points were –

1) Legally, a proclamation can not have someone’s name attached to it, as this one did
2) Proclamations are for people, resolutions are for action.  As such, this should be a resolution.

Marilyn’s sensitive and insightful political response?  “Resolution, Proclamation – who cares?”  And that IS a direct quote.

As if to test that hypothesis, Hecht and Sideris re-worked the proclamtion into a resolution that the other councilors approved.  Except Marilyn, of course, because it didn’t slit the throat of the ADL by using words like “hypocrisy”.  “THE ADL IS THE WHOLE POINT!”, she bellowed, really playing the crowd that came to cheer her on.  But it’s not really the point at all.  The point is not to say the ADL sucks.  The point is to force the MMA to withdraw from No Place To Hate.  Those are two radically different concepts.  Marilyn wants to blame people…other people.  The rest of the council wanted to fix a problem.

After the new resolution was read, Marilyn was livid.  “WHAT YOU DID WAS TAKE MY PROCLAMATION AND TAKE OUT ALL REFERENCES TO THE ADL.  EVERY SINGLE ONE.  AND THAT WAS MY PROCLAMATION!”  At this point, Clyde said something that to almost everyone else might have had some effect.  “This town council is not about ‘I’.  It’s about ‘we’.  ‘We’ work together to make things run.  Not ‘I’ but ‘we’.”  And in an amazing mini-version of Alice Through The Looking Glass, Marilyn replied, “THAT’S WHAT I’M SAYING.”

In the end, the rest of the councilors wound up passing the resolution while Marilyn continued quiver and quail about her proclamation.  It was really quite stunning to watch.  The council continued on with its business while Marilyn just kind of divorced herself from the present.  She was so involved with herself that she didn’t even seem to understand that the vote had come up.  Angie (who I’m certain would get sorted into Hufflepuff) voted against the resolution simply because she felt some of Marilyn’s language should be discussed for inclusion.

Public forum consisted of a guy angry at Driscoll, a woman from B5 who pushed for a run-off between JD and Marilyn, a man pushing to get the bus stop back and a shout out to the DPW and their new digs.

Clyde wanted to add a tax credit item to the 09 budgetary guidelines.

Angie wants info from Driscoll that she still hasn’t gotten and wants to talk about after hours security at town hall, which I can understand why some people would want.

Announcements came and I was fading so my hand written notes (my laptop screen died) are illegible.

Clyde made the motion to go into executive session at which point Marilyn piped up, “Are you skipping announcements?”

Clyde laid out the agenda for executive session, which included what to do about a possible re-recount.  Marilyn looked bewildered when the vote came, so much so that she had to be prodded to give her voice vote and wound up just shrugging.

The session ended but Marilyn was still rockin’ the mic.  “I…I don’t know how we’re supposed to fairly talked about the election.  How are we supposed to do that?  I mean Hecht endorsed JD.  Everybody’s gonna have to recuse themselves….Except Romanelli.”

And with that, Steve turned in the doorway to the executive chamber and said, “No way.  I’m done.  Leave me out of this.”

Smart man.

Don’t make me eat the baby.

Categories: Donuts, Watertown, WWMDD Tags:

In Which It’s A Bang AND A Whimper AND Neither

November 27th, 2007 4 comments

*I'M* outta order!??? 

At 11:17pm stopped at Summer St and Mt. Auburn, I sat in my car staring at the Dunkin Donuts sign.  I really shouldn’t, I told myself, you don’t really need a donut.  I agreed, but just as I turned left onto Mt. Auburn my other shoulder angel (I have two) said, fuck it – after that town council meeting you deserve a goddamn donut.  I agreed.  And it was satisfying.  It wasn’t satisfying.  I’m not going to tell you what I thought about it.  Maybe I’ll tell you on the 30th.  Maybe I didn’t even get a donut.  Shame!  Shame on you!

Confused?  What the hell do you expect after three and a half hours of the Marilyn Devaney Show town council meeting?  No one knows if this was her penultimate town council meeting – only her hairdresser knows for sure.  And maybe a priest friend.  She gave nothing away so it’s hard to tell if her performance tonight was a Norma Desmond thing or just run of the mill Marilyn.

Sure, it started off nicely enough with the obligatory presentation on the background, current state of and suggestion for this year’s property taxes (an increase of 1.75% and a 25% residential exemption – please check facts in the Tab on Friday).  The presentation covered the ground thoroughly and prompted Marilyn to offer that “there’s really no questions to ask but…” and then continued to talk anway.

They went on to the issue of continuing to double of property tax exemptions for the elderly, veterans and the blind and agreed to do so.

Marilyn then laid the groundwork for things to come by insisting that her last minute agenda item be brought up.  Clyde said no, not yet at which point Marilyn pulled a cross out of her purse and began to nail herself to it.  “I PUT TWO AGENDA ITEMS ON AND YOU TOOK THEM OFF!  WHY AM I NOT ALLOWED THE COURTESY…” and you can fill in the rest yourself.  Clyde worked the gavel and did his bad parenting thing where he tries to calm her down by yelling back at her.  (Sidenote – is there any way we can swap the wood gavel for one of the squeaky plastic ones?  It’s much more appropriate.)  Somehow, Marilyn understood that she could bring one of the items up after the last scheduled item.

Donohue then brought up the desire to explore moving the town council towards becoming a paperless body.  The idea is that each councilor would get a laptop, prompting Devaney to ask the musical question – “Does this mean we’d by nine laptops for nine people?” and assert that “I don’t even have a computer.”  It’s not Marilyn without a conspiracy theory and she didn’t disappoint, quickly pointing out that email was just another form of serial calling.  “This,” she stated unequivocally, “is another technology that can be abused.”  Oddly, enough, so are microphones.  It’s hyperbole to say the brakes were off that that point but not much.  Lawn, after enthusiastically backing the idea finished off with, “I object to a councilor accusing this council of serial calling.”  Despite the fracas, the councilors managed to stay on topic and not get too far baited.  Sideris did a Reagan impersonation pulling out a thick stack of papers that constituted all the revisions of the Coolidge School lease.  At the end of it, they agreed to pursue the idea.  Even though I support the idea, I’m not sure it’s ready for prime time since laws still dictate paper copies of everything for the public record and, unless they’ve hidden the SSID, Town Hall does not have wireless yet.

The show began in earnest.  Rather than gracefully present her agenda item, Marilyn started off with a diatribe about her mistreatment on the council and how this item got knocked off the agenda of the last meeting and “WHERE IS THE DEMOCRACY!!??” when she’s not allowed to -.  Clyde cut her off.  “You’re bringing it up now, right?”  With the wind taken out of the sails of her ego,  she read the full, horribly written text of a resolution to tell the Mass. Municipal Association to sever ties with the ADL over their denial of the Armenian genocide.  Call me old fashioned, but I don’t think that any government document should contain the word “hypocrisy”

Hecht, a member of the MMA, spoke about the process the MMA was going through.  While he supported a resolution he felt that he could not vote on it since “we got it 15 minutes ago and….”  Marilyn doesn’t need permission to speak, so she cut him off revisited the theme of “I PUT TWO AGENDA ITEMS ON AND THEY WERE TAKEN OFF!”  More gavel action from Clyde (squeak-squeak-squeak…see how great that would be?!!).  We all took a side trip to visit “Yes-You-Did-No-I-Didn’t-Land. 

(Sidenote – If I could write music, I would compose a duet called “The Harpy And The Mole” with a soprano sax and a bassoon.)

Marilyn’s fury reached it’s peak with what I believe to be the greatest single thing I’ve ever heard from her.  Imagine it’s 1979 and Marilyn is Al Pacino in …And Justice For All.  Clyde squeaks the gavel and tells her that she’s out of order and she belts out, “THIS WHOLE GOVERNMENT IS OUT OF ORDER!!”  Really.  I swear.  It was all I could do not to laugh out loud.

Hecht, sensing a way to regain control, began to say something and, because Marilyn doesn’t need to speak, she cut him off…again.  “DOES HE GET TO SPEAK TWICE?  DOES EVERYBODY HERE GET TO SPEAK TWICE EXCPET ME??”  Clyde wet his double reed and piped, “I think he’d like to finish his statement”.  Hecht, who I believe to be the model of decorum, calmly finished his statement – We just received this.  We should have a chance to look it over, discuss it and make changes to the language so that it represents the whole council.  My translation – Don’t think you’re going to push this horribly executed documents down our throats just because it’s a good idea.  Let’s vote to talk later.

Here’s why Marilyn is bad for the town council – Clyde made the motion to table the resolution for later but because of the all the drama it took five minutes to simply understand what they were voting on.  Right up to the vote, Marilyn’s addled mind still thought they were voting for the resolution.  It would be one thing if this was an isolated incident but too frequently all the quacking and honking obscures the actual work that should be accomplished.  Finally they voted to table it while Marilyn intoned, “Shaaaaaame.  Shaaaaaaame on youuuuu,” as if she were the wife of Jacob Marely.

I can only hope she was talking to herself.  Where the hell does she get off sitting in judgement on the rest of the town council?  Damn near everyone on that the town council plays by Robert’s Rules except her.  The “shame” is in the time that she wastes with her shrill, petulant, childish chiding of everyone.  I’m not surprised that she can’t find the democracy since she spend so much of town council dictatorially monopolizing the discourse.

I won’t go into her ballot initiative which met the same fate and pretty much followed the same script.  Instead, let’s skip of 11pm and “Announcements”.

“I have an announcement,” Marilyn said, her voice trembling.  “First off, I’d like to  apologize to the citizens of Watertown for losing it…”  Not surprisingly, this turned out NOT to be an apology but a doubleplus good rationalization of her abhorrent behavior and, in a move she should patent, disclaiming any responsibility for it.

And then – oh, boy…oh, boy, oh, boy, oh, boy – how to approach this?

Before I continue let me just say that I know that I can be a bit of an asshole.  I take full responsibility for that.  I may not see things the same way as you.  I’ve been known to over-analyze benign things into something shadowy and unclean.  I don’t think I’m always wrong, though.

One of the classic ploys is the “Did you say something about my mother” gambit.  What’s great about it (from the point of the executor, that it is) is that no matter what you say and even if you say nothing, you wind up getting your ass kicked.  Another great ploy, as bush will tell you, is to use tragedy.  Who in their right mind would argue with a 9/11 survivor?  I mean, besides Ann Coulter.

When you spend as much time as Marilyn screaming about how you’re not allowed to talk and then start off a speech with “Please respect me and not respond to the comments I’m about to make” well, the blood rises to my head.

The speech, such as it was, said…nothing.  If you’ve read her stuff in the Tab, you get the idea.  She would not accept any speeches or tokens of thanks for her service.  Her deceased husband, a firefighter, did not receive anything for his service.  She recounted in great detail for everyone to hear all of the wonderful things that he did anonymously.  He didn’t expect (or receive) appreciation and neither would she.  He didn’t want it and neither did she.  But if she did, he wouldn’t be there to witness it.  But she didn’t.

It left many scratching their heads.  What did she say?  It sounded like she was pissed off that the town did not recognize her husband, but was she?  Should we do something about that?  Did this mean that she would not follow through on the recount?  Or was this speech a hedge in case she lost the recount?  Was this the Watertown version of the Checkers speech which is the final word in passive-aggressiveness?  Like a sphinx guarding the Curlergates, Marilyn kept mum, letting her words hang in the air like sticky cobwebs you can’t brush off.

Will town council, as Clyde was quoted as saying, run smoother without Marilyn?  I can’t imagine it wouldn’t.  Easily an hour could have been chopped off of the running time had Marilyn kept within Roberts’ Rules OR Clyde finally tossed her out for contempt.

After we filed out, dazed and bleary-eyed, someone said that town council meetings could get very dull without Marilyn.  “That’s true,” I said, “Godfather 2 is almost three hours long, but I enjoy sitting through that.”

Categories: Lovable Psychos, Watertown, WWMDD Tags:

In Which, In The Meantime, I’ll Gladly Sell You Product

April 27th, 2007 No comments

In the midst of puzzling out these new and exceedingly amusing developments with Marilyn Devaney, you can go over to Cafe Press and pick up some “Don’t you know who I am” hats, bumper stickers and bibs!  You can also pick up What Would Marilyn Devaney Do stickers, as well!

NOTE – If you’ve got a copyright and royalty free picture Ms. Meglomania of 2007, shot me an email – hbeeinc at gmail dot com.  Let’s tawk.

Categories: Capitalism, Watertown, WWMDD Tags: